KELOWNA - UBC Okanagan’s library is branching out—literally.
The new UBC Innovation Library, to be located in the Kelowna Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library (ORL) on Ellis Street, will have a look of its own. There will be no shelves or stacks of books. Instead, it offers a place for public online research, providing access the many digital volumes within UBC’s electronic collections.
The Innovation Library is the result of community consultation where local residents expressed their desire to gain access to the UBC library, but with the convenience of a downtown location, says UBC Okanagan Chief Librarian Heather Berringer.
“The purpose for this innovative branch is two-fold,” explains Berringer. “First, it gives UBC a physical space in the downtown library. Second, the partnership engages directly with community members by supplementing traditional public library offerings with academic research support and resources.”
While many online resources link searchers to information, Berringer says UBC has more than two million academic journals and e-books, many of which were not readily available at a public library. Now, with the space in the Kelowna library, people will gain access to UBC’s digital offerings with professional help navigating them.
Okanagan Regional Library CEO Stephanie Hall says UBC’s Innovation Library significantly increases the level of services available at the Kelowna Branch.
“This will provide the public with improved access to millions of dollars’ worth of databases that the ORL could never afford,” says Hall. “It’s a great partnership that leverages the resources at both institutions for the benefit of our community.”
Deborah Buszard, UBC Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Okanagan campus, says the new Innovation Library meets the goal of making university resources available to the community by developing common spaces and programs in collaboration with public library partners.
“UBC is delighted to provide an additional point of access to the university in downtown Kelowna, one which complements our partnerships with the Rotary Centre for the Arts and Accelerate Okanagan,” says Buszard. “The Innovation Library will offer the community an outstanding new way to connect with UBC’s vast collection and knowledge resources.”
The Innovation Library will have a UBC librarian on hand to provide academic consultations to support students, faculty, and community members engaged in joint research projects and knowledge mobilization initiatives, as well as to develop joint programming with Okanagan Regional Library staff.
“The Innovation Library will benefit UBC Okanagan students engaged in community-based learning and co-operative education placements,” Berringer says. “It is also equipped to support faculty members working on off-campus initiatives including regional socio-economic development projects in and with communities. And it is open for public use.”
The UBC Innovation Library will be located on the second floor of the library and is expected to be open by September. The project is a two-year pilot program, funded partially by the Irving K. Barber Learning Fund, which supports community-based partnerships, and partially by a private British Columbia-based foundation.